IMAGES OF MARRIAGE

 

Liturgical marriage ceremonies date from the 12th century in western Christianity (the Catholic tradition), but there is evidence of church weddings as early as the seventh century in eastern Christianity (the Orthodox tradition). Before the development of these sacramental rites, betrothals and weddings were primarily family celebrations presided over by the parents who arranged the marriages. In the past, both the relationship between the spouses and the ceremony that united them were also called matrimony, derived from matrimonia, the Latin word for marriage.

The following images depict the sacrament from the Middle Ages to today. Unless otherwise noted, the rituals are those of the Roman Catholic Church.



 Matrimony

Marriage in the Middle Ages
Detail from the baptismal font of St. Mary’s Church in Binham, England



Matrimony

The Sacrament of Matrimony
(19th century colored print)



Matrimony

The Sacrament of Matrimony
(Detail from The Seven Sacraments by Rogier van der Weyden, 1545)



Marriage

A Catholic wedding in Italy



Marriage

Bride and groom standing before the altar at their nuptial mass.
Catholc weddings are often performed in the context of a eucharistic liturgy.



Marriage

But the nuptial mass is not an essential part of the wedding.
Catholics can also be married in simple sacramental ceremony.



Marriage

Pronouncing the marriage vows
From a Catholic perspective, this the essetial moment in the ceremony.



Marriage

Exchanging vows in Toronto, Canada



Marriage 

After pronouncing vows at a Protestant wedding



Holy Matrimony

A Russian Orthodox wedding in New York



Marriage

An African Methodist Episcopal wedding



Marriage

A Mennonite marriage ceremony held in a Baptist church in Michigan



Marriage

Bestowing the ring on a new partner for life



Marriage

The marriage band is a symbol of fidelty.



Marriage

Lighting a unity candle is customary in some places.



Marriage 

A happy moment saved on film



Marriage

Unity candle being lit during a Protestant wedding



Marriage

Blessing the couple toward the end of the ceremony



Wedding Reception

Secular rituals such as this one continue
the celebration of marriage after the church wedding.



Holy Matrimony

At the beginning of a Russian Orthodox wedding



Holy Matrimony

In an Orthodox wedding, the crowning symbolizes both the crown of martyrdom
and the establishment of a new kingdom in the home.



Holy Matrimony

Sometimes the crowns look more like crowns.



Holy Matrimony

Sometimes the crowns are simple symbolic hoops.



Holy Matrimony

Whether elaborate or simple, a wedding is always a happy occasion.
An Orthodox wedding in Bulgaria


 
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Last modified: Thursday, 18 February 2016, 3:27 AM